Sunday, July 29, 2012

Is California Wine At a Pricing Inflection Point?

 

 "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt"



In honor of Presidential candidate "Mitt the Twit's" gaffe at the Olympics, I thought I'd lead this week's SVB on Wine with a little Presidential rewind of GWBs' greatest hits. <bada-bing!> ...But seriously folks ..... While I don't have GWB's oratory skills (I'm being slightly generous here), I really can relate to his occasional public gaffes. ......but that's not important. What IS important is the Gomberg-Fredrikson Report for May shows cumulative bulk imports accounted for 19.3 million case equivalents shipped into the US in 2012; a whopping 167% increase. That's the equivalent harvest off 27,000 acres of US winegrapes calculated at 12 tons per acre.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Mystery Surrounding Lot18's UK Closure

The past week's change in strategy announced by Lot18 to close their UK efforts was curious, particularly when you consider they have been there only four months. Its a mystery worthy of Scotland Yard if you ask me. Repeated calls for an investigation have fallen of deaf ears. There are some clues however: The closure follows a couple small rounds of layoffs and the abandonment of some early initiatives directed at other luxury areas. In their press release, Lot18 suggested the reason for the closure:
‘Unfortunately, the supermarkets’ stranglehold on the UK market proved too powerful for us to compete with and we have not experienced the anticipated growth rate.’
A likely ruse it is. The supermarkets did it! They strangled Lot18 and I'm guessing the deed was done with a rope in the produce section by Colonel Mustard! Seems very suspicious to me. I called their CEO Philip James for comment on Friday but at press time there was no response so we are on our own to solve the mystery. What's the real reason behind Lot18's U.K. closure? Elementary my dear Watson.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Is There Really a Grape Shortage?


Women's Syncronized Swimming Team Drowns Trying
To Signal Help with their Legs

I thought I'd tip my lid to the upcoming Olympics in London and in this weeks edition of SVB on Wine, share a story and a revelation about market bubbles and tie that into an observation about year-end grape supply and grape market dynamics.

Let The Games Begin!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is 7%-11% growth in US Fine Wine disappointing?



Up to the spring of 2010, I wasn't the most popular of prognosticators. Prior to the crash I started handing out predictions as I saw things, a housing bubble, large market corrections, etc. Strangely, after the first gloomy prediction my literary agent stopped getting any calls for book signings and speaking opportunities. “Call someone that's not a Debbie Downer.” I was a pariah, a leper, an outcast with the likability of an attorney from the WSWA. Then last year when I said we were at the beginning of another long-term period of growth in fine wine, the phone stared to ring. I was once again quotable and in demand for speaking engagements. What’s the old saying? Failure is an orphan, but success has many fathers? That's why it's particularly disappointing for me to throw a little cold water on the wine recovery.... but let me emphasize the adjective 'little' because its a measured mid-year course correction, doesn't change the growth forecast, and I still want to get some speaking invitations.